Thursday, May 31, 2007

Off to Pittsburgh (Plus Feline Photo Friday)

Well, I'm off to Pittsburgh for our engagement party plus my brother's high school graduation party. I imagine this is what our kittles will be doing all weekend:

Felix On Bed

When we aren't home they lounge on the bed all. day. long. I'm sure they are excited, I know I would be if I was a kittle and had an entire weekend to sleep!

Have a great weekend everyone! Next week brings the promise of a new FO!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ravelry, A Future Frog, & An Almost FO

So y'all have heard about Ravelry right? Well, after checking my email account obsessively for weeks I finally got an invite! Of course it happened after I stopped checking my account 5 times a day. I got an invite Friday and didn't check until 10:15 pm Monday night. Of course I found it 45 minutes before my self imposed bedtime when I was supposed to be redding up (cleaning up) the living room. Of course for the last hour I have been checking out the awesome website and poking around adding some of my stash (which I started to photograph weeks ago) to my notebook. I have to honestly say it is incredible and well worth the wait and all the hype it has been receiving. My screenname on Ravelry (as well as Flickr) is 3tuxedocats so don't hesitate to add me as a friend!

On to other knitting things. The last three weeks have been consumed by a new obsession. This:

Any guesses? It's Wicked! I was so impressed with the Zephyr Girls' Rusted Root pattern that I had to knit me another one of their awesome sweaters. I am loving it so far. I am knitting it with the turquoise Shelridge Farms worsted superwash wool I picked up at MDS&W. I love, LOVE, the yarn. It is soft, squishy, and a great deep very slightly shaded turquoise. But I'm not making the standard pattern. I have altered it greatly. But more on that later.

Here's where the frog comes in. I am making a 3/4 length sleeve version and as much as I love this pattern I am having major problems with the sleeves coming out ginormous. Now, I had a similar problem with Rusted Root, and while I know I have chunky arms, they're not THAT chunky! This is only my second sweater, and my first long sleeved one. The first sleeve I knit I did not decrease for the sleeves at all (the pattern doesn't call for any sleeve decreases) and I had to rip back. I thought I ripped back far enough, but apparently not, as the sleeve is still huge at the top and more fitted around my elbow. Now normally I would rip this back now, but I have to have this sweater for the weekend. J and I are heading up to Pittsburgh for our engagement party thrown by my awesome parents and I am planning on wearing it. This leaves no time to rip and reknit. Luckily it does not look too out of place on, it is just a nagging flaw that will drive me nuts until I have a chance to fix it after the party. Luckily I figured out a series of decreases for the other sleeve (with lots of math, not usually my friend) and it fits like a glove. I'll have more on this and a proper FO post next week. Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!

ETA: As promised here are the sleeve photos. God, I can't even look at the deformed one! It is that bad. First, the good one. The one with mathmatical decreases that slightly tapers to the elbow and fits perfectly.

And here is the, uh, not so perfect one.

Don't say I didn't warn you, I told you it was bad.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Feline Photo Fridays A Little Lulu

Sneaky Delaney

This is LuLu, aka Delaney when she was little and liked to hid behind the microwave. Thank god she doesn't do that now!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Seven Things

So Laura has tagged me in the 7 things meme going around the blogosphere.

So here are my seven things:

1. I have a Geographic Tongue. My dad has one too which makes sense since it tends to run in families. I haven't met anyone else with the condition though. It's mostly bothersome as certain foods (especially acidic ones like pineapples, strawberries, and vinegar) tend to make my tongue burn, but I don't care I still eat them.

2. I'm a very visual person and love to learn new things from books. I taught myself AutoCAD from a book and now I'm the CAD Coordinator for a major architectural restoration. I also taught myself to knit from a book as I didn't have anyone to show me how. Next up, quilting and Adobe Illustrator.

3. I almost went to school to become a microbiologist but decided historic preservation was a better fit.

4. I'm a native Pittsburger and miss my hometown everyday. I still want to say "pop" when ordering soft drinks but I really dislike the looks I get from people here in "soda" country.

5. I hate wearing jewelry but I love to design and create it. I've been making jewelry since I was in elementary school, but never for myself.

6. I met my fiance on as a dare freshman year in college. My roommate was already on and bet me I couldn't get more dates than her. I went on one god awful date with some loser before Justin emailed me. We've been together ever since. And I lost the bet, but only because I had to forfeit. We'll be getting married sometime next year. Incidentally, I haven't talked to that roommate since I left to go home the summer between freshman and sophomore year.

7. I bought a bright pink hardhat for my job which requires us to wear hardhats when doing fieldwork, but have wussed out in ever wearing it. I'm one of only two women on the job, and I wish I had the self confidence to pull off a pink hardhat without feeling embarrassed.

So there they are my 7 things. Now is the hard part. I'm so new to this whole blogging thing I don't know many people in blogland (I'm naturally very shy, ha an eighth thing!) so I am going to virtually tag anyone who is reading this and hasn't participated in this meme yet. Do it, it's fun!

ETA: Marigold asked for pictures of the pink hardhat. Well, here you go!

Pink Hardhat

Pink Hardhat

I added the Hello Kitty sticker myself. If you are interested I purchased mine online and they come in a variety of colors. If I am not mistaken, certain trades wear certain colors ie. carpenters wear yellow hardhats. But I could be wrong, so don't quote me on that.

Feline Photo Fridays (A Little Late)

Felix in the Sun

Here's the Fefers all streched out soaking up the sun.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Laura has tagged me for a meme, but unfortunately I am swamped right now (applying to grad school is hard work!) but I promise (PROMISE!) to get to it this weekend.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Presenting Rusted Root!

Presenting... Rusted Root!

Rusted Root!

My first sweater. After three weeks and four skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece I have a lovely spring/summer/fall sweater. I love it, and not in an obligatory because I made it kind of way, but in an over the top lovefest sort of way. The color is perfect, the fit is perfect, the design is perfect, and the knitting is, well almost perfect. Here are my thoughts on the various aspects of the process.

The yarn: I really like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. It comes in a great variety of colors and is reasonably priced. Being a cotton blend yarn (80% cotton / 20% wool) I had feared it might be a tad hard on my hands like many cotton yarns can be, but I had absolutely no problems with it hurting my hands. The yarn is soft to the touch, and does have considerable more elasticity than 100% cotton yarn. My only gripe about Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece is that it can be incredibly splitty. There were many stitches I had to go back and make sure I had the entire loop on the needle not just a few of the strands that make up the yarn. In this respect I had to pay more attention to each stitch then I would have if I was using a non-splitty yarn. Overall, I'd recommend Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and will use it again in future projects.

Rusted Root Lace Panel

Pattern: The pattern is incredibly well written except one small section that could be confusing to those new to top-down raglan sweaters (ie ME!). It was written to M1, K1 right after the lace pattern instead of K to first marker M1 K1. This put the increases for the sleeves right after the lace pattern unless you knew to knit to 1 st before the sleeve marker. So for a few rows until I realized what I was doing was wrong I made the increases right after the lace pattern. I caught it only a few rounds in, so I decided to let it go and not rip back. It is barely noticeable. Aside from that one minor flaw in the pattern, I didn't find any others. One thing about this pattern I found after browsing through the Craftster archives is that the sizes tend to run big. I am normally a size XL, but I downsized to a size large for this sweater, which is a good thing because it fits perfectly. The beauty of the pattern (and top-down raglans) is that you can try them on as you go. I tried mine on quiet a bit while in the process of knitting to make sure everything was working as intended. I know that several people over at the Sexy Knitters Club Sexy Knitters Club were having problems with the sleeves ending up not being poufy enough. I didn't really want super poufy sleeves because a large chest + poufy sleeves = not flattering. What I did want was the sleeves to be a bit longer. My sleeves actually turned out a bit larger than intended (see gauge below) but I'm not sure if it bothers me enough to rip them back. I didn't notice how large they were until after the sweater was blocked, they didn't bother me before it was blocked.

Gauge: My gauge differed from the recommended gauge only in the number of stitches per row. I was spot on for the number of stitches per inch, but I was getting one less stitch per row which meant less knitting!

Needles: I used Knitpicks options needles and boy are they great for this type of sweater! It is way simple to try it on as you go by leaving the cables in with the endcaps on. I used a US 6 for the body and a US 4 for the ribbing. Definitely love these needles.

Modifications: I didn't modify it very much. I did a few more rows of ribbing on the sleeves and bottom, but that's it.

Rusted Root Lace

Overall Thoughts: I will definitely make this sweater again and I am already thinking of a long-sleeved winter version with a cable motif where the lace panel is currently. I love the asymmetrical look to it and really like the versitility the lace panel affords as it would be really easy to swap out stitch pattern of a similar size. I really like top down raglans, in fact I already have another one on the needles (more about that later). I loved the process of this knit. I learned so many things, top down sweater construction, lace patterns, and beign truthful with myself about patience over progress. This sweater felt like it went incredibly fast and I was unusually monogamous with it. I am by no means a monogamous knitter ( uh hello log cabin blanket, I'll get back to you eventually!) but I had such a great time watching it grow on my needles that I pushed myself to continue. I finished it in three weeks but didn't block it until last Sunday. (I had a tremendous amount of guilt about showing you all photos of an unblocked Rusted Root, so I decided to delay the F.O. post to show off Rusted Root how she deserves to be seen, all shiny and clean and de-lumpified.) And me? I'm still basking in the "I just completed the first-ever sweater" glow.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Feline Photo Fridays

I really like the idea of Eye Candy Fridays in the blog world, but I've decided to put a little spin on that. Since I am apparently a crazy cat lady, I have decided that Friday will henceforth be known as Feline Photo Fridays. Today I have Magnus.


He was my first ever kittle. Four years ago a stray cat had a litter of kittens in Justin's (the fiance) mom's woodpile. Not wanting 10 cats roaming around her backyard she set out to place the kittens in adoptive homes. At the time I was totally against taking in a kitten. 1) I'm allergic to cats, 2) J's apartment didn't allow them, 3) Did I mention I'm allergic to cats? But this little fella stole my heart and in August we adopted him. He was full of fleas and tiny for his age (4 months) but he was so furry and cute. I named him Magnus after a character in a Jimmy Buffett song, Chanson Pour Las Petits Infants (I was obsessed with J.B. that summer). Two months after that we adopted his littermate Delaney. Magnus is still tiny, and very furry but we like him that way, and the rest is history!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Maryland Sheep and Wool

Rusted Root is being a diva and isn't ready for her public debut yet (something about her hair still being up in curlers) but I have this to show you:

My loot from Maryland Sheep & Wool.

- 5 Skeins Shelridge Farms Worsted in Turquoise.
-4 Skeins Socks That Rock Heavyweight in Boysenberry.

That's it. I know, I know, not very much but I was thoroughly overwhelmed. So much so that I was ready to just give up and throw in the towel because it was sooooooo crowded.

Like everywhere you turn you bump into someone (sorry people I bumped into!) I was a bit claustrophobic. Also, I only had $100 to spend (damn you car repairs and expensive asthma medicine!) I had planned on taking a bunch of photos but it was so crowed there was no way I would be able to get any good shots.

I must admit I'm kinda regretting my STR purchase. I bought it with the feeling that I would make my mom a chevron scarf for Christmas with an as yet undecided second colorway. I love the vibrant color of the Boysenberry but at $27, nearly 1/3 of my budget I wished I had passed (there's always the internets). What I wish I would have bought was more of the beautiful, soft, superwash Shelridge Farms worsted. Eventually I want to make my mom a Wicked from Zephyr Style, and I wish I would have bought the yarn in person. The yarn colorways are so, so beautiful in person, but not so clear and precise on the website. I am also going to keep this in mind when I knit the Rogue Hoodie in the fall. I love that it is superwash, so soft, and very reasonably priced at 200 yds for $10.50. The base yarn reminds me of STR, the sprongy-ness and roundness of it. Overall, I really great yarn.

Next year I hope to be proficient enough with a drop spindle to take advantage of all the wonderful roving. My friend Erin and I were both looking for some but being uneducated in the art of the drop spindle, we decided not to purchase roving afterall. We vowed to have this spinning thing down to take advantage of all the roving available at the Montpelier Fiber Festival in October.

Friday, May 4, 2007

It's Done

Rusted Root that is. But due to crazy-bad allergies plus cloudy rainy weather I haven't been able to properly document it. A proper FO post later this weekend.